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June 24, 2010

Vol 36 • No 42

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Sex: A cottage industry

That's the allegation in Cabot, though the case has some wrinkles.

Selling sex on the Internet

Advertiser says she skirts law to support a family.

Downtown Shopping Guide

Amman apart

Restaurant owner, musician and filmmaker — Amman Abbasi does it all.

City cracks down on truck farmers

The city of Little Rock's budget woes are well-known. Dozens of staff positions are empty.

Huckabee defends 'ick factor' remark

Mike Huckabee has been under fire lately for using the phrase "ick factor" in discussing his opposition to same-sex marriage.

LR school board candidate

I haven't talked with him yet, but I just stumbled across the website of a brave man, Greg Adams.

Little Rock gets "Party Down South" casting call on July 8

As we reported earlier, Doron Ofir Casting, the agency behind "Jersey Shore," is swinging through Arkansas on their casting call road trip for their new show-in-the-making, "Party Down South."

A vote for clean water

Environmental activist Barry Haas notes the lack of press coverage today of the "historic" vote by which the Quorum Court approved a watershed management plan for Lake Maumelle.

War Memorial strikes secret deal with AT&T UPDATE

The War Memorial Stadium Commission — a publicly appointed state board — today announced it had sold naming rights to the football field in the stadium — a publicly owned facility — to AT&T. The Commission declined to say how much it had sold the rights for.

Max releases Avenue Boulevard EP

Fresh from catching kiss from Pitchfork for their recent release of Dragoon's debut LP, Max Recordings released a four-track EP from Chicago three-piece Avenue Boulevard.

Highways: No free lunch

Jason Tolbert provides some coverage of the blue-ribbon group studying highway funding. He catches same plain old common sense from Sen. John Paul Capps, who says new tax money will be required.

The line is open

Take us over the hump.

Shaggs, Muppets, "Sex Sax" and Eels

The band that Frank Zappa famously tauted as "better than The Beatles" is heading to the stage.

Visitor's Guide 2011

Welcome to Little Rock.

Eye on Arkansas, June 24

In Brief, June 24

Band of Heathens, Chuck Dodson, Charity Vance, 'Dance 'Til You Disintegrate.'


Our last jingo lingo war was a few years ago against France. The French had refused to send troops to be blown up alongside ours in Iraq, or some such treachery. By way of retaliation, we renamed French fries "freedom fries," some of our patriotic breakfast places took French toast off their menu boards, and our snootier winos agreed to move over from French to Yellowtail.

Basic geography

In his June 10 column, John Brummett declares that cheese dip, with its apparent genesis at the Mexico Chiquito restaurant in Prothro Junction, is "a Little Rock thing." Well, I'm sitting here in my domicile in downtown Dogtown, looking at a map, and I'm pretty sure that Prothro Junction isn't on his side of the river. Not by a fair piece.

Pixar wins again

'Toy Story 3' is the rare excellent final chapter in a trilogy.

Midtown Attractions

The Observer, June 24

The Observer has had some close calls on the road before. Recently, though, we had one without even leaving the house.

Orval, June 24

Midtown Dining Guide

Smart Talk, June 24

LR Central leads in AP; the Lincoln-Boozman outlook and the LR Zoo remains tobacco friendly.

Midtown Shopping Guide

'Tosca,' Opera in the Ozarks

June 18, Inspiration Point Fine Arts Center

'Comedy of Errors,' Arkansas Shakespeare Festival

June 19, Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA

North Little Rock Attractions

'Wizard of Oz'

Robinson Center Music Hall, June 21

This Modern World, June 24

North Little Rock Dining Guide

Downtown Attractions

North Little Rock Shopping Guide

Children's Attractions

On the Silver Screen

On Stage

To Do List, June 24-30

Eisley, A+ Setup, Drive-By Truckers, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Life Size Pizza, 'The Dark Knight', Sister Hazel.

The Televisionist, June 24

'Futurama,' 'James May's Toy Stories' and 'True Blood.'

Heights Dining Guide

The Week That Was, June 16-22, 2010

Good: Little Rock School District, John Rogers, Green Party. Bad: Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, Republican Congressional candidate Tim Griffin, Southern Baptist Convention, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola.

What's Cookin', June 24

Last week, ZaZa started construction on its second location, a 4,000-square-foot space in the new mixed-use development The Village at Hendrix.

Words, June 24

On lotteries, mic vs. mike and old expressions.

Heights Shopping Guide

Argenta Attractions

Argenta Dining Guide

Argenta Shopping Guide

Downtown Dining Guide

Riverdale Dining Guide

Riverdale Shopping Guide

Hillcrest Dining Guide

Cantrell Road Dining Guide

Hillcrest Shopping Guide

Cantrell Road Shopping Guide

Free ad time

If you've watched AETN over the past few months, you've probably seen a promotional video for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and didn't even realize it.

West Little Rock Dining Guide

West Little Rock Shopping Guide

Southwest Little Rock Dining Guide

A&E News, June 24

New dance club to downtown LR; Jeff Nichols filming follow-up to 'Shotgun Stories' in Ohio; Whodini to Revolution; Mary Steenburgen to star in Nashville TV show and LR Film Fest gets national recognition.

Not fit for broadband

Even with expansions, some communities left out.

Hot, dirty and fun

Toltec draws a crowd eager to unearth the Indian past.

Good art, bad air

V.I.T.A.L. lives at musty mansion.

Keet's residency

Is the Republican candidate for governor, Jim Keet, eligible to run?

A rare spontaneous moment

I had a good seat for the luncheon Friday of the Political Animals Club at the Governor's Mansion. It provided a view of political spontaneity, now nearly extinct in this tightly controlled era of what the consultants call "message discipline."

The little grocery that could

Argenta Market puts Arkansas food on table.

Elliott v. Griffin

Unless you're hypnotized by the competition between a chameleon Democrat and a mannequin Republican, forget about the campaign for the U. S. Senate for a while.

Blaming America

When a black president defends the American people against a giant oil company, vilification by Republicans is pretty much assured.

Gay pride parade on in Fayetteville

Despite an astro-turfed e-mail campaign organized by the Mississippi-based American Family Association, the Northwest Arkansas Gay Pride Parade remains on for Saturday in Fayetteville.

So sorry, Weiner

John Brummett explains — not that reason has much to do with this current issue — why there are minimum enrollment requirements for school districts and why the lines have to be drawn somewhere, though inequities might occur on either side of that line.

Lincoln and the Waltons in the headlines

Sen. Blanche Lincoln is holding firm on her legislation to remove derivatives business from banks.

Thursday To-Do: Eisley

I swear, sometimes you can practically see the neighborhood's pubescent boys peeking through the cracks of these girls' backyard fence.

SWEPCO to go it alone on coal plant

American Electric Power, whose SWEPCO subsidiary has been stymied in court on getting Public Service Commission approval for a coal-fired generating plant in Hempstead County, filed a brief notice with the PSC today saying it will no longer seek PSC approval for the plant as part of the rate base.

Thursday: Band of Heathens, Wayland Holyfield, 'Coraline,' Tyrannosaurus Chicken, American Aquarium, more

Band of Heathens, an Austin-based crew of roots rockers, visits Sticky Fingerz alongside the smooth drawl of Fayetteville's Matt Stell & The Crashers, 9 p.m., $7.


Kat Robinson escapes the state's borders to discover what Door County, WI has to offer the culinary world. Don't worry, she's coming back.

'Futurama' revived

For the most part, there are no do-overs in television.

Siren song

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are a solid band. And, as such, they put on a pretty solid show last night at the Rev Room.

Joe Nichols headed to East End for benefit

Rogers native and country superduperstar Joe Nichols, who's lately been tearing it up on the charts with "Gimme That Girl," is headed to East End, Wednesday, July 7, to play a benefit concert to raise money to rebuild the East End Fire Department, which was destroyed in the May tornado.

Lincoln's push cuts both ways

Sen. Blanche Lincoln's pivotal role on financial regulation might make her a hero for enemies of Wall Street for a time.

Court upholds disclosure of petition signers

Big news here. The U.S. Supreme Court, in an 8-1 vote, has upheld a Washington decision that allowed public release of names of people who sign initiative petitions.

War Memorial sign deal disclosed

AT&T has agreed to waive secrecy on the deal it struck with the War Memorial Stadium Commission on naming rights for the football field, which now carries the AT&T brand on the 20-yardlines.

Find a way in

Nashville photographer Thomas Petillo, who's made a name with his portraits of musicians, is showing his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Hot Springs.

Little Rock writer near a deal with AMC for college football drama

Graham Gordy, the Little Rock screenwriter behind "War Eagle, Arkansas," is close to selling a TV show to AMC.

Three cheers for Jim Keet

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Keet today unveiled an ethics package he'd push if he beats Gov. Mike Beebe.

Joyce Elliott meets the press

Jason Tolbert provides a clip of Democratic congressional candidate Joyce Elliott meeting the press following a Political Animals Club talk today.

Pharewell, Pharaohs

With the Arts Center set to send its troubled, but critically acclaimed "World of the Pharaohs" exhibit packing on July 7, your opportunities to catch the show are dwindling.

Head of Game and Fish stepping down

Scott Henderson, director of the state Game and Fish Commission since 2003, will step down Sept. 1.

Benton wants to stimulate football

Thanks to Jason Tolbert for a tip to Inside Saline, which notes that the Benton School Board is set to discuss use of federal stimulus money to leverage a bond issue for a $14 million football stadium/fieldhouse project.

Thursday line

It's open

Weiner world

Hot doggies! I know the people in Weiner love their schools.

Evaluating LR's superintendent

As I had previewed earlier, the Little Rock School Board met in private yesterday with Superintendent Linda Watson as part of their review of her work.

Derivatives deal done, Lincoln claims victory

Big week for U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln. She got a special exception to new banking rules for the Walton family's bank.

At the Art Scene

Shannon Rogers, who just finished his first year of graduate art school in New York, is showing more than 50 drawings and paintings at The Arts Scene, now located at 806 W. Markham, from 4-8 p.m.

Boozman: Corporations' friend

The U.S. House yesterday passed legislation to require corporations to disclose their political spending. Make them equal with individuals, in other words.

Weekend: Chuck Dodson, Cool Shoes, "Dance 'til You Disintegrate"

FRIDAY 6/25 Pianist Chuck Dodson releases his newest classical jazz album, "The Wildwood Sessions," at Maxine's in Hot Springs, performing alongside his studio-accompanied cellist and violinist, 7 p.m., $5.

Friday To-Do: A+ Setup reunites!

A+ SETUP6 p.m., Music Fort Smith. $6.

Drilling opponents to demonstrate

Opponents of offshore drilling plan a national demonstration Saturday, "Hands Across the Sand." One event will be at noon Saturday at the Hot Springs community garden at 124 N. Palm Street downtown.

Friday To-Do: Drive-By Truckers

It's damn near impossible to find Drive-By Truckers' name in print without finding a Skynyrd reference trailing behind.

Saturday To-Do: Life Size Pizza album release show

LIFE SIZE PIZZA9 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.

Let there be more swimming

Two city swimming pools that were scheduled to close in mid-July because of budget cuts will now stay open until July 31, Assistant City Manager Bryan Day says.

Remembering Rosey

It's the 30th anniversary year for the Central High School Class of 1980. Has it really been 30 years since Roosevelt Thompson was Central valedictorian, a National Merit scholar bound for Yale?

Researcher throws 'ick factor' back on Huckabee

Fallout continues for Mike Huckabee's use of the phrase "ick factor" in describing how some people react to gay sex and his effort to defend the word by saying it was a phrase in common use.

If you must swim, beware Saline River

The Health Department reports several cases of diarrheal illness from people who've swum in the Saline River near the Highway 5 bridge.

Truth in exhibitry

The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa, opens a $40 million expansion tomorrow.

Rock Town Distillery soon to be up and running

Phil Brandon spent the morning unloading giant metal pieces — square tubs, long cylinders affixed with pressure gauges, large copper contraptions that called to mind steampunk submarines.

Rock Town distillery preview

Lindsey Millar took the press tour today at Rock Town, the state's first "craft distillery."

Ya Ya's "Sous Chef Showdown" a success

Wednesday night brought local food fiends to Chenal Valley’s Euro-bistro, Ya Ya’s, for their first five-course “showdown” between two in-house sous chefs, Nate Miller and Derek Jones.

Polling Obamacare

Interesting age analysis of recent Gallup polling on health care reform legislation. It now enjoys solid support, except among those over 65, who are WAY negative.

Suit filed over state interest on tax debt

News release just in on a lawsuit over the 10 percent compounding interest the state of Arkanas charges on tax debts.

Cantrell Gallery opening

Go cast your vote for what you think is the best painting in the “19th annual Mid-Southern Watercolorists Open Membership Exhibit” that opens with a reception Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at Cantrell Gallery, 8206 Cantrell Road.

Lincoln's famous victory

Politico is currently leading with an extensive analysis of Sen. Blanche Lincoln's big win — at least symbolically — in shaping financial reform legislation.

Elliott goes after Griffin on Rove UPDATE

It appears to me that Politico sought out this interview with Joyce Ellliot, the Democratic nominee for 2nd District Congress.

BREAKING: Dawn Scott hot wired

What would I do without David Koon, perhaps the most singularly gifted writer/reporter working for peanuts in the U.S.A. today?

Friday night line

It's on.

Jindal jabbed at last

La. Gov. Bobby Jindal, a major critic of the federal response to the Gulf oil spill, has some explaining of his own to do about his state's poor planning and the shortcomings in several of his ideas.

Consider Nancy Pelosi

Gail Collins' column in today's New York Times is a warm tribute to the grit and accomplishments of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Dracula: A thrilling time at UCA theater

David Koon reports on Dracula, showing through Saturday, July 3, at UCA as part of the Arkansas Shakespeare Festival: The Arkansas Shakespeare Festival has made a habit out of throwing some curveballs in their annual salute to The Bard.

A victory for vegetables

Remember the news I'd passed along about city code enforcement officers shutting down a small farmers market at Pulaski Academy. It will reopen.

How about a comedian for mayor?

Worth a ready in today's New York Times is a feature on the new mayor of Reykjavik, Iceland — Jon Gnarr, a comedian whose goof campaign had an element of seriousness and who was elected along with a slate of other rockers and political outsiders.

Lights out

The Drive-by Truckers literally rocked the lights out last night at the Rev Room. About four or five songs into the set, all the power to the band's instruments shut down.

Praise the Lord, pass the hookah

Elwood sends along a link to a bust of some 50 Springdale teens boozing it up in a faith-based thrfit store.

Shall Mike Huckabee lead the GOP?

John Brummett gives some thought today to Mike Huckabee's role as the leading Republican presidential contender for 2012. And says a recent New Yorker profile was a mite too kind, "ick factor" and all.

Morning paper thoughts

Two of them: 1) I still say it is folly to compare standardized test scores for Pulaski County school districts against state averages and those of charter schools without regard to the dramatic demographic differences.

Can cell phones cause brain tumors?

Maureen Dowd raises the question about potential cell phone radiation hazards in a column about San Francisco's modest legislation to require dislcosure of phone radiation levels and the phone industry's angry reaction.

The long war and its ills

From a reader comes a recommendation for a thoughtful essay in the Washington Post by history professor Anthony Bracevic.

Election — and open line

A news release has arrived from James Dillon, who describes himself as retired Army and former LR police traffic safety officer and who says he'll run for the Ward 3 seat on the Little Rock City Board of Directors this fall.

NWA parades for gay rights

Ozarks Unbound provides coverage of the Northwest Arkansas gay pride parade Saturday. It had created some controversy — at least among religious righters — for young Will Phillips' role as grand marshal.

About those Republican candidates ...

Everything looks good politically for the Republican Party this year, John Brummett writes. Except for one small thing: Wackjob candidates.

Supreme Court dooms Chicago handgun ban

The U.S. Supreme Court continues to rout precedent. Today, it overturned decades of precedent in striking down Chicago's ban on handguns.

Proctor appeal denied by U.S. Supreme Court

It's now officially over. Without comment today, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the removal of former Pulaski Circuit Judge Willard Proctor for ethical violations in operation of the Cycle Breakers probation program.

The real Elena Kagan

Since Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan seems likely to be one of the days top stories, here's a useful sourced list from Media Matters debunking some of the favorite myths about Kagan propagated by her enemies.

'Smoking groin lands two in custody'

Headline of the day comes from KAIT in Jonesboro. About a traffic stop and ensuing meth bust in Paragould.

True Blood: Heads will roll

Are we already over the hump? Only twice in last night's episode three did I wish an act of blood and carnage would swoop in and free me from scenes of emotional gooey-ness, down a good 30% from episodes one and two!

Can Mike Huckabee talk his way to White House?

The buzz about Mike Huckabee's potential presidential candidacy continues, today with a lengthy analysis from The Fix, the Washington Post politics blog.

Assault-robbery in Garland County

The Garland County sheriff's office reported today a violent home intrustion early Friday morning. Lt. James Martin said three men wearing bandanas around their faces forced their way into a home on Sequoyah Loop about 2:40 a.m.

Arkansas to ban synthetic pot UPDATE

The state Board of Health has scheduled a meeting Friday to consider an emergency regulation to ban the sale of synthetic marijuana, known as K2, Spice, Genie and other names.

L'artiste en route

French/American artist Darlyne Chauve will show her work at Heights gallery Boswell-Mourot, Kyle Boswell tells us; he's hanging work by her and 24 other artists, both local and national, for a show that starts July 1.

The line is open

Sorry. I"ve been out on errands.

Boiling fish

Kat Robinson's recent travel to Wisconsin included a new lesson in fish preparation that draws hungry crowds to specialty restaurants and beaches.

Geese, guns and Bella Vista

Canada goose lovers haven't given up their fight to protect these and other birds in Bella Vista.

What if BP's relief well doesn't work?

I'd been waiting for this discussion and it's even more depressing than I thought. Of course it's not a certainty that completion of relief wells will stop the gush of oil into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's failed well.

That's some big eatin'

Bald Knob's Who Dat's Restaurant serves up a whole lot of whatever it serves, be it seafood, burgers or even its more-than-ample food bar.

Birds: Spend the winter in Arkansas

I meant to link something on this earlier. But the BP oil disaster has created opportunities for others.

New ad firm from CJRW departures

The group of ad execs who left Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods in a recent shakeup at the ad/PR firm have established a new firm, Martin-Wilbourn Partners.

GOP expects Tea Party 'hootenanny' at convention

Yes, let us hope. From a Republican blogger: THE TEA PARTY CONVENTION: On a conference call with the Republican National Committee's temporary delegate selection committee today, RNC chairman Michael Steele predicted that the "Tea Party hootenanny" would be omnipresent at the 2012 convention.

Halter poll was 'bunk,' sponsor says

Interesting. Daily Kos says now, based on an independent review, that he was defrauded by the polling firm did surveys for him for a year and a half.

Tuesday: Agent Orange, The Glyph, "Latin Nights"

Classic, trailblazing punk/surf-rock trio Agent Orange have been providing music for skateparks for more than three decades and, most recently, making me jump out of my skin after trying to do a Google image search for that picture right up there.

Hilarious kiddie hoodlums run amok in new Ear Fear video

So are 607 and Bobby going to do a video for every song on both of their new albums?

Why does the GOP hate Thurgood Marshall?

Silly question. Also not too smart a strategy.

Bill to end school corporal punishment

It's hard to imagine this will go anywhere, not with most of a Senate filibuster in the part of the country most likely to be opposed.

Truman Arnold's $10 million gift to Texas A&M

Truman Arnold, the Texarkana, Texas, petroluem marketer who's long been a player in Arkansas politics and government, has made a big gift on the Texas side of Stateline.

Amendments in works on immigrants, casinos

Roby Brock reports that organizers of two state constitutional amendment campaigns say they'll turn in petitions with sufficident signatures to qualify for the ballot by Friday's deadline.

Here's the judge

Patter Helmstrom, whose work appears here, is the judge for the 2011 "Small Works on Paper" competition sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Council.

Tuesday topics

The line is open.

Do I hear a second, Tim?

Tim Griffin's main man, the man who would be speaker, Republican John Boehner, the man who in an interview in Pittisburgh diminished the financial crisis and said President Obama had overreacted against BP, has another swell idea: Raise the retirement age to 70 for Social Security benefits.

Arkansas report on education mixed

A new report from the Southern Regional Education Board credits Arkansas for doing a good job at getting kids in pre-K programs, but notes our continued low college completion rate.

State sound fiscally, Weiss says

Richard Weiss, state Finance and Administration director, te the state is in a "good spot" as the fiscal year ends today.

Izzn't it nice?

The thick menu at Izzy's can cause difficulties in determining appropriate lunch fare. We suggest whatever you get, try the One Large Tamale. And the tea — any of the teas.

LR deseg lawyer dies

Interesting obit in today's New York Times about a storied civil rights lawyer, William Taylor.

Memphis finally lands Bass Pro?

After many years in the works, Memphis may close a deal today that will put a Bass Pro Shops in the old Pyramid arena.

Wednesday To-Do: 'The Dark Knight'

In the theaters, we're a nation that likes our sugar extra sickly sweet and our lovey with as much dovey as possible. So how in the world did a movie so nihilistic, so unwaveringly dark and with such a complete lack of resolution as "The Dark Knight" manage to resonate with an entire country?

Wednesday To-Do: Sister Hazel

Best known for its unavoidable 1997 hit — and one of the better late-'90s M.O.R. singles — "All For You," Sister Hazel refused to follow its one-hit wonder comrades into the dark, instead steadily releasing albums since, each keeping in step with a carefree, Southern-kissed vibe of optimism and long afternoons.

'Arts in Crisis' at Clinton Center

If you run a non-profit arts agency and want to get some ideas about how to stay afloat, head to the Clinton Center a week from today.

'Round the Arkansas internet

Preserving corn, choosing a new ice cream flavor and sharing quick meal ideas today on the Eat Arkansas blog.

Lincoln's election outlook grim

Nate Silver has done a post-primary analysis of U.S. Senate races and concludes things are slightly better for the Democrats.

River cruisin'

Good looking flyer and line-up for the Thick Syrup River Boat cruise. Tickets available at White Water, Green Grass,